July 25, 2017 / 11:51 PM / a year ago

Colombia lowers GDP growth forecast for this year, 2018

BOGOTA, July 25 (Reuters) - Colombia’s Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas on Tuesday revised down economic growth forecasts for this year and 2018 as weak oil prices and lower consumer spending hamper the Andean nation.

Cardenas told reporters that gross domestic product would likely expand 2 percent this year, down from a previous forecast of 2.3 percent, while growth next year would be 3 percent, lower than an earlier projection of 3.5 percent.

“These estimates are in line with the International Monetary Fund. They are realistic and objective,” Cardenas said. “What we want is solid bases for the budget we will present on Friday.”

Many economists and investors have criticized Cardenas for being overly optimistic with fiscal and economic targets. The market forecasts growth of 1.8 percent this year and 2.5 percent for 2018.

He has promised to trim 5 trillion pesos ($1.65 billion) from next year’s budget. (Reporting by Carlos Vargas; Writing by Helen Murphy; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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